making 2011 travel plans

(If you're sick to death to hearing about this book, skip down to the bottom.)

So yesterday, I spent a considerable amount of time going through the rather formidable list of destinations you all shared with me on Wednesday.  Then I cross-referenced those cities against the cities where I've already been booked to either speak or attend a conference.  After compiling this list, I further referenced the destinations for which my family is hoping to travel, and/or have family for which a visit was sorely overdue.  Then, taking these cross-referenced locations along with the remaining destinations, and calculated two standard deviations from a statistical analysis based on the number of ....

... okay, no.  I'm lying.  Here's what I actually came up with:

Destinations where I'm 100% sure I'll be speaking:

So, first of all, of course, there's the book launch, which is in less than three weeks (!) at Brazos Book Store here in HoustonAll of the details are here, and if you're here in Houston on December 2nd, I'd love if you'd join me (and for those of you who are Facebook types, you can RSVP here).

Then the following week, my beautiful friend Laura is putting together something in the Austin/San Antonio area for me (I know, right?  How awesome is she?).  Details are to come, but watch this space.

Destinations where I'm speaking or attending a conference:

Okay, so once those are done, I figure it makes sense to try to plan for a book reading or meetup in cities where I've already registered to attend or speak at a conference. (Note -- I don't have actually readings or meet-ups planned in these cities yet, so if you happen to be local to these cities and have any good ideas, let me know.)  So far, they are:

World Domination Summit, Portland, Oregon -- June 4-5

Blogher, San Diego, California -- August 3 - 7

Obviously, other conferences may arise, and if that happens, I'll be sure to let you know.  If I plan these correctly, I'll probably come in a day early to try to do something the nights before the conferences.  More as I know more.

Destinations where I'm really, really hoping to go:

London (or somewhere in southern England - how would you guys feel about Bath?) -- The last time we were in England was November 2008, and my in-laws are starting to get twitchy.  We're way overdue for a visit, and are doing our damnedest to make it happen in 2011. 

Charlotte, North Carolina -- I have a couple of work-related reasons that I need to go there for -- it might be the perfect opportunity to tie in a meet-up as well.

Destinations where I have family, and I haven't seen them often enough:

San Francisco, California -- My sister lives here.  There's really no reason not to make this happen.

Vancouver, Canada -- Countless cousins live here.  Ditto, above.  Just a matter of figuring out a time for both these destinations.

Destinations most of you picked, which seems to indicate a lot of interest, yet I have no conferences or family there:

After the above, the cities with the biggest votes (from highest to lowest) were:

Atlanta, Georgia

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Washington, DC

Boston, Massachusetts

Chicago, Illinois

Not entirely sure how we're going to make these cities happen.  But I promise to try.

So that's what I'm working with.  If we do this, I may impose on some of you for some advice, with names of independent bookstores you think would be worth contacting to host any meetups, as well as helping me get the word out locally, if that's okay.  If you're an artist of some kind, perhaps when I come to your town, we can work together to promote your work, as well -- make the event beautifully different, you know?  We'll brainstorm something -- I'm happily taking any ideas.  To be perfectly honest, I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to make it all happen -- this will all be on my dime and time -- but I'd like to try.  Nothing ventured, and all that. 

Okay, then!

Thanks for all your suggestions!  It seriously helped me to get my mind around what I'm going to be dealing with 2011.  So in gratitude (and for those of you who skipped reading everything above), here are two things I recently came across for you to contemplate as you go into your weekend:

1)  I recently came across the site -- it allows you to create your own playlists and allow people to listen to them for free -- isn't that clever?  I was so thrilled with this, I created a little playlist to including the press kits I sent out for the book -- but I don't see any reason why I can't share it with everyone.  You can hear that playlist here -- I listen to these songs a lot when I'm writing.   I may have to start putting together playlists each month, I think.

2) Secondly, this is, by far, the weirdest story I've read all year (warning -- you might not want to be eating when you click that link).

And with that, have a wonderful weekend, everyone. I really hope I get to meet as many of you as possible in the coming year.


Image:  Photograph of Alex taken with my Nikon D300, vintage manual 50mm lens.  The image was inspired by the comment left by The Wanna be Country Girl as part of the photographic scavenger hunt, where she said, "It's getting cool here in Ga in the evenings, and last night we had a fire in our outdoor fire ring. I'd forgotten how nice it is just to sit and watch fire. I'd love to see a photo of your with fire as the subject."


Song: Road trippin' by Red Hot Chili Peppers